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Health experts recommend making your own salad dressing instead of store bought or even ones made in a restaurant. You could be adding an extra 200 calories to your meal, as well hidden ingredients in the form of sodium and unhealthy polyunsaturated fats, and all the while, thinking you are making a healthy food choice. (1)
That’s not the only reason for making your own. Certain nutrients in vegetables are not absorbed unless in the presence of fat - salads and vegetables should therefore always include a healthy fat source. It’s as easy as drizzling some EVOO on your greens just before serving.
This may be news to you. I feel like we are constantly learning as we journey through life. We used to hear about getting 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day to stay healthy and I grew up hearing the slogan that ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Well that’s not quite true anymore, we have to learn how to pair foods to get the maximum nutrient absorption and keeping our bodies in optimal health.
“Nutrients in food work synergistically. Eating a combination of certain foods is often more beneficial than eating them alone, such as the case of drizzling olive oil over your salad.” (1).
Vitamins such as A, D, E and K need healthy fats for the body to absorb them efficiently as they are all fat soluble. If you have no fat in your digestive tract, the vitamins cannot dissolve properly and do not get absorbed in your small intestine, from where they would make their way throughout the body to benefit you as a whole.
Leafy, green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are high in vitamins A & K, red and orange vegetables such as carrots and bell peppers are high in vitamin A and whether they are eaten raw or cooked, should be paired with a drizzle of a high premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Tomatoes are not only high in vitamins A and K but also in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help to prevent prostate and other cancers. Although many fruits and vegetables lose some of their nutritional value when cooked, and tomatoes do lose vitamin C but they increase the amount of lycopene by as much as 35% and serving it with EVOO enhances the absorption of both the vitamins and the lycopene. (2)
Now you know you can go ahead and enjoy a good tomato sauce or even the occasional slice of pizza. Of course Papa Vince has some healthy tomato based recipes on our website that can all be eaten as part of the Mediterranean diet. Why not try our recipe for Eggplant Pizza, it's a gluten free way to enjoy pizza. Get the recipe here >>
It’s so easy to make your own salad dressing, here is the recipe that we like to use. You can even make it in advance, store it in a small container and take it to work or to the restaurant with you.
Just mix all the ingredients together and pour over your salad and your taste buds and your body will thank you. Plus you’re getting all the anti-oxidants and the extra vitamins from the EVOO. It’s a powerful combination!